Avengers: Endgame wrapped The Infinity Saga while also serving as the launchpad for the first wave of Disney+ Marvel series. WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier took very different approaches to a post-Thanos world. Loki continues the theme of the fallout from Endgame through the perspective of one of Marvel Studios’ strongest villains.
It’s impressive seeing the Marvel Cinematic Universe machine in action. Just as noteworthy is how different Loki is from WandaVision and TFATWS yet still feel part of the same cohesive world.
This premiere episode, Glorious Purpose, has a touch of the unexpected, quirky humor of WandaVision while taking a thoughtful approach on the evolution of a character that’s been a fixture of the MCU since 2011’s Thor.
Unlike the other shows, Loki isn’t directly sharing the spotlight with another hero. There’s not a lot of established characters that Tom Hiddleston’s Loki wouldn’t overshadow so the smart play was to put him into a setting where powers are a non-factor.
Enter the Time Variance Authority, a group created to maintain the timestream and protect against abnormalities. Or time variances like an Asgardian killed by Thanos that suddenly gets a second lease on life thanks to an Avengers time-traveling mission.
Naturally Loki isn’t thrilled to be snatched away by a TVA Hunter-B15 (Wunmi Mosaku, Lovecraft Country) and sentenced by TVA judge Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Come Away). But in this setting, Loki’s ego and boisterous proclamations don’t get him anywhere.
Since Loki’s greatest ability is his way of weaving words and getting his adversaries to lower their guards facing off with people who know his playbook inside and out eliminates his edge.
One of the more intriguing aspects of Loki is this is not the same character that experienced such dramatic growth from Thor: The Dark World, Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War. This is the arrogant, entitled trickster that just faced a humbling defeat at the hands of Thor and the Avengers.
The more mature Ragnarok-era Loki might be better equipped to face this situation while this Loki is still looking out for himself. Hiddleston has played Loki in six films so he’s got a clear sense on how to portray Loki at various stages in his life.
Hiddleston’s best asset in his portrayal of Loki is his ability to give him that devilish trickster side yet making him just vulnerable enough to be relatable and sympathetic.
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TVA Agent Mobius (Owen Wilson, Bliss) sees Loki as a potential asset in solving the case of a variant killing his fellow agents.
Wilson has the kind of disarming, good-natured presence that makes him shine immensely in the right role. He excels at playing the cool, calm and collected character against big, showy charismatic performers like Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller.
With this setup, it’s hard to envision a better choice than Wilson, who makes Mobius seem like he was created especially for him. The Wilson/Hiddleston dynamic works tremendously setting up a fun buddy cop style partnership that should easily keep Loki engaging through its six episodes.
Like its predecessors, Loki doesn’t have a drop-off in production values from the feature films. Director Kate Herron keeps the mood light — a TVA infomercial explains variants in playful fashion — while giving the TVA a fresh presentation unlike other realms and majestic cities in the MCU.
Think of the TVA like the MCU’s courthouse/library. The tech looks somewhat dated, but is still highly effective.
Loki gets off to a strong start with the promise that this procedural will be just as unique and fun as the previous MCU Disney+ offerings.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: Disney+